New Report Finds Landlords Overestimate Costs and Underestimate Financial Benefits of Allowing Pets in Properties

07 Mar 2024

A new economic report commissioned by animal welfare charity Battersea and led by the University of Huddersfield in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University and Brunel University reveals clear financial benefits of renting to pet owners and helps dispel myths about pets and assumed damages. 

This report is the first economic cost-benefit analysis of landlords letting to tenants with dogs and cats. The data was collected from over 2,000 private landlords and over 1,000 private renters, exploring a broad range of issues from relationships between landlords and renters, to in-depth explorations of the risk of damage in the private rented sector.

Findings included the average total reported cost of pet-related damage was £300 per tenancy, compared to £775 for non-pet-related damage caused by non-pet-owning tenants. Over the course of 12 years, the total monetary benefits to landlords of letting to tenants with pets exceed any related costs. 76 per cent of landlords reported they did not encounter any damage caused by dogs or cats in their rental properties.  

The report further shows that renters with pets tend to stay longer in their properties than those without pets, with 50 per cent of pet-owning renters staying in their previous accommodation for more than three years, compared to only 31 per cent of non-pet-owning renters. These results indicate financial and social advantages for landlords in fostering longer and more stable tenancies.  

Pet ownership is vital to many people’s physical and mental health, whether it’s the companionship that pets provide, or the opportunity to get outdoors and meet other people. With more people than ever renting properties, Battersea has been leading the way to enable more tenants to have the chance to experience the joys of pet ownership. With its Pet Friendly Properties campaign, the charity wants to achieve long-lasting, societal change because it believes that pet ownership should be available irrespective of an owner’s housing status.

The report shows that the measures contained in the draft Renters Reform Bill are vital to supporting pet owners in the private rented sector. 29 per cent of renters without pets said that if the legislation were passed, they would be more inclined to consider having a pet in the future.  

Ben Parker, Public Affairs Manager at Battersea said: “This first-of-its-kind report is a great help in dispelling the myths on pets and damages in the private rental sector. Sadly, one of the most frequent reasons Battersea sees owners bringing their pets to us is a lack of pet friendly places to live.  

“The Renters Reform Bill has the potential to allow more people to benefit from pet ownership, while ensuring landlords and their properties remain protected. However, although the bill passed the Committee Stage last November, it has worryingly since stalled and additional efforts are still required before the law can enable renters and pets to reside contentedly together. As this Bill hopefully continues to progress through Parliament, we look forward to continuing to work with the Housing department and the wider property sector to promote a more equitable rental sector for both pets and people.”

The report's findings will be discussed at a roundtable event at Battersea’s London centre on 7 March, with guests including the authors of the report, policy and property experts and representatives for the Department of Housing, housing campaign groups and animal welfare charities.

Dr Tom Simcock, lead researcher of the project at the University of Huddersfield, commented, "Our new research busts the myths about renting to pet owners. We find that renting to pet owners can be financially viable and beneficial for landlords.  Pets are not a major risk, and in fact, pet owners tend to stay longer in their properties. Pet-owning renters are more likely to feel at home in their property, but worryingly, they are also more likely to be anxious about raising repair issues. All renters need to feel empowered about raising concerns about their property without the worry of retaliatory action. The Government must press ahead with the Renters Reform Bill and ensure this delivers for pets, renters and landlords alike.”

Battersea is working to ensure that the legislation helps more people experience the many benefits and joys of pet ownership and needs the public’s continued help to make sure this happens. Members of the public can show their support by signing the charity’s pledge for more pet-friendly properties and help send the message that people and pets belong together here.


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You can also find out more in the report here

Notes to editors  

  • At Battersea we offer our love and expert care to dogs and cats who need us by rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals at our centres, and by sharing our knowledge and resources with rescue organisations around the world. We do this because we want to help every dog and cat, everywhere.  
  • In 2022 Battersea directly cared for 2,278 dogs and 2,253 cats at our three centres. We also helped thousands more through our Communities programme, campaigning work, supporting other rescues and animal welfare advocates, and sharing knowledge and advice with pet owners.
  • In addition to the site in South West London, Battersea also has two other centres based at Old Windsor, Berkshire and Brands Hatch, Kent.
  • To find out more visit our website or follow Battersea on Twitter @battersea_ , Instagram @battersea or